Hairdressing has always been at the heart of a community, from the barbershop as a political meeting place to braiding as a social, communal activity. Professional hairdressers have long operated their own businesses, but the first widely acknowledged salon as we know and recognise them today is said to be Champagne (great name) which opened in Paris in 1635. Prior to this, hairdressing was generally done in private at home, or by skilled people within the community. Champagne marked a difference as a specific shop, staffed by a paid team, which you could visit for a specific service. While barbershops have their own important part to play in the business of hair, salons have long provided women with an opportunity to establish themselves as owners and managers and gain financial independence: Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone and Madame C. J. Walker both launched salons in the 1900s spurred on by the success of their products for Black hair, while Hatsuko Endo opened the first hair and beauty salon in Tokyo in 1905 and former housemaid Martha Matilda Harper became known as the Mother of Franchising for her chain of salons in the 1920s.

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